If you live in the small town of Marshall, Illinois, you likely already know you have much to be thankful for. While the town has a small population compared to the big cities in Illinois, there is nothing to compare to the charm of Marshall. Marshall epitomizes the concept of a small town with a big heart.
When we think about Thanksgiving Day, most of us immediately think of food. Yes, Thanksgiving in Marshall is a time for great family feasts, with Turkey usually as the star of the show. But the “sideshow” is spectacular too, and everyone, and most families, has their favorite recipes for the all-important sides. We argue over stuffing versus dressing. Do we “stuff” the bird or make it a dressing on the side? Sausage or no sausage? Sage or not? Cornbread or white bread? Don’t get me started on the variations of green bean casserole and cranberry sauce (canned, fresh, jelly, whole berry? It boggles the mind).
We love all the festivities, the desserts, and of course, the football. All of these uniquely American things are part of the fabric of our country, our cities, our towns, our families, and our friendships.
But let us remember what the true meaning of this yearly event is about. It’s not about food or football. It’s not about the day after when black Friday has us in a shopping frenzy. It’s not even about shopping locally Saturday, even though that is important to our local communities, and Marshall is no exception.
It is about gratitude.
Things are a little bit tougher this year. Prices on food and gas are higher, even as they come down a bit. Turkeys may be in shortage or more costly. Even so, we can find much to be thankful for this year.
Yes, sometimes we fight, argue, and fuss. But no matter whether you have a big family or just a small one, having people who know you are there for you in good times and bad is a blessing we all hope to have and should cherish. This year, forget your differences, don’t talk about sore subjects; instead, just be together. Enjoy good food, gentle hugs, and a little laughter.
What would we do without them? Make sure that no one eats alone. Open your home, put the extra chairs at the table, and share what you have, even if it’s not a lot. When times are tough, it’s our friends that get us through. I like to say, “When life gives you lemons, God gives you friends.” Cherish them.
If you’re reading this and live in Marshall, you live in a very special place. This is a place of community, fellowship, and caring. Whether you own a home or rent, live with family, or share a place with friends, life in Marshall is pretty darn nice. It’s home. Make sure you spend some time enjoying what your town has to offer. We have some of the best outdoor spaces in the state, with great parks and green spaces. Our shops are owned by people who care about you. Spend some of your Christmas money with them. Stay local; they deserve it. Eat local too. Hit the coffee shops and restaurants and let them know you support them.
If you don’t live here, come and visit. You’re always welcome in Marshall. We love visitors.
Some of you may not have the luck of good health, and we wish you this Thanksgiving in Marshall better days ahead. For those of us that are healthy, let’s give thanks for that blessing and the blessing of the health of our family and friends. We can make it through a tough economy and difficult days, but when we are healthy, we are rich.
Fellowship and community:
Be thankful this year that you live in a town where helping others is part of the fabric of the community—Check in with your local churches. Ask what you can do to help those less fortunate than you are. Trust me; there are always people who are less fortunate than you are.
“I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”
― Helen Keller
Make this Thanksgiving in Marshall one to remember. Remember that you live in Marshall, Illinois, one of the best little towns in the world. Be safe, happy, kind to one another, and most of all…